In today’s increasingly global and remote workforce, video conferencing has become an essential tool for companies of all sizes. However, not all video conferencing platforms are created equal when it comes to encouraging true collaboration for small teams.
Traditional video meetings often end up feeling like one-sided presentations that are easy to mentally check out of.
To foster productivity and connection between remote team members, small businesses need free video conferencing software with features that transform meetings into engaging, collaborative work sessions.
Best Video Conferencing Software for Small Business UK 2024
This guide will explore:
- Key capabilities to look for in video conferencing tools
- 5 top free platforms on the market
- Which option works best for different types of teams
- FAQs on selecting the ideal software
By the end, you’ll know to pick the perfect video conferencing solution to meet your small business’s needs and budget. Let’s get started!
What Should You Look for in Free Video Conferencing Software?
When evaluating free video conferencing platforms, keep these essential features in mind:
Encourages Active Participation
- Multiplayer screens – Allows multiple people to control, edit, and view files/apps simultaneously
- Annotation tools – Sticky notes, drawing tools, and labeled cursors so people can mark up shared documents
- Screen sharing capabilities – Select participants can share their screen with the group
Fosters Seamless Collaboration
- Integrated whiteboard – Enables real-time brainstorming and visual collaboration
- In-platform chat – Allows team members to exchange messages without disrupting the meeting
- File sharing – Supports uploading and accessing images, PDFs, and other file types
Optimized User Experience
- Simple setup – Easy to get started with minimal onboarding needed
- Intuitive interface – User-friendly platform requiring minimal training
- Reliable video/audio – High-quality conferencing capabilities
- Recording option – Ability to save meetings for future reference
- Persistent rooms – Ongoing virtual space so work/notes aren’t lost between meetings
- Calendar integrations – Syncs with popular calendar apps like Google Calendar
- Encryption – Data protection so confidential information remains private
- Access controls – Customizable permissions for members
Keeping this checklist in mind, let’s explore some of the top contenders on the market in 2024 for best free video conferencing software for small teams.
Best Video Conferencing Software for Small Business UK 2024 – Comparison
|Browser-based meeting rooms enabling real-time collaboration on documents/apps
|Highly collaborative teams
|Reliable video meetings conveniently integrated into G Suite
|Companies using G Suite
|Popular conferencing tool best for larger-scale video meetings
|Larger teams & webinars
|Longstanding platform strong in international video/audio calls
|Built-in chat and collaboration capabilities alongside conferencing
|Companies using Microsoft 365
Now let’s explore the distinguishing details of each platform.
Switchboard stands out from traditional video conferencing tools for its focus on making meetings interactive and collaborative.
Rather than simply sharing a presentation and passively viewing someone else’s screen, Switchboard’s multiplayer online rooms allow for true teamwork on documents, web apps, images, and more within a meeting.
Participants can easily discuss and edit shared content in real-time for organic back-and-forth collaboration. Ongoing note-taking is also streamlined with persistent cloud rooms that save all files, notes, and tasks after meetings automatically.
With video/audio conferencing and intuitive annotation tools built in alongside its multiplayer screens, Switchboard is ideal for facilitating productive remote sessions that feel like you’re all in the room together.
Switchboard shines when it comes to facilitating team collaboration and is uniquely optimized for:
- Highly collaborative small teams – Enables seamless teamwork and organic back-and-forth on files/apps
- Hybrid & fully remote teams – Persistent meeting rooms keep everyone continually aligned
- Client collaboration – Impress and interact with clients in next-level virtual meeting spaces
#2: Google Meet
As a video conferencing tool natively integrated into Google’s popular G Suite platform, Google Meet makes it easy for Google Workspace users to conduct online meetings.
With straightforward video/audio calling and screen sharing capabilities, Google Meet is designed to enable quick virtual team check-ins and huddles for companies using G Suite. Meetings of up to 500 participants can be hosted on free plans.
It also conveniently enables automatically generated captions during calls along with collaborative whiteboard features.
However, Google Meet lacks capabilities for truly working simultaneously on shared files/content within meetings.
Google Meet is ideal for:
- Companies using G Suite – Seamlessly integrated into Google Workspace and tools
- Larger team meetings – Conference calls supporting up to 500 participants
As one of the most widely used video communication platforms on the market, Zoom is celebrated for its reliability and robust features.
- Meetings with up to 100 participants on free plans
- Ability to live stream meetings to large online audiences
- Screen sharing and annotation tools for presentations
- Breakout rooms enable smaller side sessions
- Built-in collaborative whiteboard
However, like Google Meet, Zoom isn’t optimized for intensive team collaboration on files/documents within meetings themselves.
- Large teams – Supports meetings with up to 100+ participants
- Webinars and town halls – Popular platform for company-wide video communications
- Presentations – Robust screen sharing and annotation features
As one of the pioneering video chat apps, Skype makes staying connected with team members internationally a breeze.
Standout features include:
- Good quality global video and audio calls
- Real-time translation for overcoming language barriers
- Screen sharing and recording meetings
- File sharing and cloud storage capabilities
Skype integrates nicely into Microsoft Outlook/Office for workspace alignment. However, Skype’s straightforward calling and translation abilities make it better suited for verbal discussion meetings rather than intensive collaboration sessions.
- International teams – Excellent for connecting global employees and overcoming language barriers
- Quick check-ins – Convenient for spur-of-the-moment video calls and updates
#5: Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams brings all-in-one messaging, collaboration, and video tools under one platform.
Alongside fully integrated chat and file sharing features, Microsoft Teams enables straightforward audio/video calling and screen sharing for team meetings.
There are also options to create collaborative teamwork spaces alongside its conferencing capabilities. And just like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams ties in tightly with Microsoft’s other offerings, like Outlook and Office 365.
However, Microsoft Teams lacks Switchboard’s focus on enabling seamless real-time collaboration on files/apps during video meetings themselves.
- Companies using Microsoft 365 – Deep integration with Outlook, Word, Excel, and other Microsoft productivity software
- Quick check-ins – Easy video calls and team messaging
FAQs About Finding the Best Free Video Conferencing Software
- Is there a free meeting app with no time limit?
Yes, both Switchboard and Google Meet offer free versions of their video conferencing software without enforced time limits on meeting lengths. This flexibility makes them ideal platforms for in-depth collaboration sessions.
- What is the main difference between Zoom and Switchboard for collaboration?
The core difference lies in how interactive meetings can be in real-time.
With Zoom, one person typically shares their screen or a presentation while others watch and take turns contributing verbally. This can lead to less active collaboration.
Switchboard enables multiple participants to control and discuss documents/apps simultaneously with multiplayer screens and annotation tools. This facilitates true, organic team collaboration within meetings.
- Which free video conferencing tool is best for working on files collaboratively during calls?
Switchboard stands as the most collaborative platform, enabling all participants to actively work together on documents, web apps, whiteboards, and more during video meetings in its interactive cloud rooms.
No other free tool allows seamless co-editing quite like Switchboard, making it uniquely optimized for highly collaborative remote sessions.
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As a small company, you can’t afford video meetings that fail to keep your team engaged and working closely together across locations. That’s why choosing a platform focused on enabling organic collaboration is key.
Of all the options compared, Switchboard is purpose-built to transform traditional video conferencing into truly collaborative work sessions.
With Switchboard’s multiplayer screens and intuitive workspace, you can finally facilitate the same level of teamwork remotely as you do when together in person.
Ready to take your remote collaboration potential to the next level?
Get started with Switchboard completely free or book a demo today. Your teamwork breakthrough awaits!